Publisher to Print ID Book?

Anger erupts over a forthcoming book on intelligent design from academic publisher Springer-Verlag.

By | March 2, 2012

Timuiuc, Flickr

TIMUIUC, FLICKR

Springer-Verlag, an international science, technology, and medicine publisher, appears to have had plans to publish a book in favor of intelligent design. On Monday (February 27), evolution blog “The Panda’s Thumb” pointed out Springer’s forthcoming book, Biological Information: New Perspectives, which claims to present “new perspectives regarding the nature and origin of biological information.” Among the book’s authors is intelligent design advocate John Sanford, a courtesy associate professor in Cornell University’s department of horticulture.

Information about the book has since disappeared from Springer’s website (but can still be viewed on Amazon.com). The book proposal was initially peer-reviewed by two individuals, according to Eric Merkel-Sobotta, executive vice president of corporate communications at Springer in Germany, but upon receipt of the manuscript, the editors have decided to do additional peer-review, which is now underway, Merkel-Sobotta told Inside Higher Ed. Springer was unaware of the editors’ roles in the intelligent design movement, he said, and Springer does not “endorse intelligent design as a legitimate area of scientific research.”

Such potential publications pose a problem for scientific literacy, Glenn Branch, deputy director at the National Center for Science Education, told Insider Higher Ed, because “once published, they can claim that scientific authority is behind them.” Several Springer authors are drafting a letter of protest to the publisher, the website reported.

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Avatar of: Jorge Fernandez

Jorge Fernandez

Posts: 1457

March 2, 2012

This is outrageous - KGB, anyone?   That symposium at Cornell was as scientific an event as you will see anywhere (I was there).   This type of censorship is worse than the Middle Ages or the Salem witch burnings.  And it's happening in our "enlightened" age.   Okay, I've seen it all ... I'm ready to leave the planet. 

Avatar of: Colin Reeves

Colin Reeves

Posts: 1

March 2, 2012

As a Springer author myself, I find this apparent censorship nauseating. If this is true, I shall certainly look for a different publisher for my next book. The only criterion should be the scientific (or philosophical) merit of the content. And it isn't Springer's place to "endorse" something anyway; their function is to facilitate the dissemination of scientific ideas and arguments, not to take a position on current controverses.

Avatar of: RobertD

RobertD

Posts: 1457

March 2, 2012

Although several posts express outrage at this apparent censorship, they should review a few of the details not expanded upon here.  Amazon.com quotes the book cover as stating, "the work represented here develops novel non-reductionist approaches to biological information, looking notably to telic and self-organizational processes."  If you mosey over to the Wikipedia definition of "telic,"  it appears to me that the flap is not about publishing per se, but rather about publishing it as as a work of science rather than theology.  I'm too cheap to spend $179 on this book to confirm my suspicions, but if one of the supporters wants to spring for it and report back on the rigorous experiments described there, I'd be happy to change my position.

March 2, 2012

My goodness - has it really come down to this level of censorship?!  That even the possibility of a book about ID is enough to get a campaign going.  Has anyone ever had the intelligence to work out that if the complaint about ID is that there are no peer reviewed published research, and then any such research is immediately banned - it becomes the ultimate in circular arguments? 

Avatar of: eldon45

eldon45

Posts: 1

March 2, 2012

"The book proposal was initially peer-reviewed by two individuals"

So a couple of like minded friends liked your idea of publishing the book. I thought the peer review process took place after they could read the content not on what you proposed to write.

Avatar of: JCJahoda

JCJahoda

Posts: 2

March 2, 2012

Has anyone read the book?  Unless there is some good EVIDENCE based science in it is just more ID unscientific nonsense.  The only way to know if it is science with good data or more ID junk is to actually read it.  My guess from looking at the list of authors is it is more ID non science, but without reading it I cannot know for sure.

It is not about free speech or the right to publish good peer reviewed science.  The question is is there any good scientiifc evidence presented here?  If there is not then it is not science and should not be published as if it is science.

Biological Information: New Perspectives (Intelligent Systems Reference Library) [Hardcover] Robert J. Marks II (Editor), Michael J. Behe (Editor), William A. Dembski (Editor), Bruce L. Gordon (Editor), John C. Sanford (Editor) Like 1330712305 false -1 1 1 0 (1)

I note that Behe and Dembski along with Sanford are amoung the editors, which makes me very suspicious about the scientific merit of its content.

Avatar of: JCJahoda

JCJahoda

Posts: 2

March 2, 2012

Also, the publisher did the right thing in calling for a more intensive peer review of the book to determine if it is or is not science.

If it is good science with good evidence then they should go ahead and publish it

If it is determined that it is not good science or that there is no evidience to back it up then it should not be published as science.

That does not mean it should not be published.  There are tons of books published each year that are not science.  Just that it should not be published as if it were science.

JCJ

Avatar of: alexandru

alexandru

Posts: 1457

March 2, 2012

I have developed five
years ago a new theory on the paternal mitochondrial DNA inheritance that
brings scientific arguments and *new perspectives regarding the nature and origin of biological
information*. Based on Adam mtDNA heritage, observed only at the puberty only in *born
boy's* seminal liquid (not in vitro made), I have developed a new
bio-communication theory, Mitochondrial Adam DNA data transmission theory - ISBN 978-606-92107-1-0:

Abstract: Brain and
soul storming - The necessary
and sufficient processes to a well function of the human body are meticulous arranged
by specific organizational cells, so called process biomanagers, using
interconditioned procedures, transmitted through three ways of communication:
chemical or “protein channelâ€쳌, electrical or “ion channelâ€쳌 and mitochondrial or
“EMF wireless channelâ€쳌. The third type is out of the visible and measurable spectrum
and raises a new challenge to the scientists. For this type of bio communication
we bring a new theoretical hypothesis, based on the managerial
multidisciplinary analysis of a cybernetic model proposed by us, by simulating
the human body function with the virtual computerized system based on the
management of its total knowledge and its perfect quality way of function. The
main bricks used for this virtual construction are: the brain, as main
bioprocessor, and Eve mtDNA and Adam mtDNA, as bio-antennas. This assembly of
the total knowledge, build with “brain reasoning, biological feeling, and
unlimited soul feelingâ€쳌, is called by us “main decision triangle, IQ-EQ-CQâ€쳌.
The main principle of the management of the total knowledge imposes us to not
neglect any information produced by man during the time, even if it seems
creasy at the beginning. Because in the natural fertilisation the spermatozoids
are naturally equipped with the paternal mtDNA (a veritable main bio-GPS), we
consider that the paternal mitochondria DNA have a very important role in the
evolution of the human being life quality and we have developed a new
hypothesis, “Adam mtDNA theoryâ€쳌, in addition to “Eve mtDNA theoryâ€쳌.

Keywords: brain,
mitochondria, maternal, paternal
 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 2, 2012

This is outrageous - KGB, anyone?   That symposium at Cornell was as scientific an event as you will see anywhere (I was there).   This type of censorship is worse than the Middle Ages or the Salem witch burnings.  And it's happening in our "enlightened" age.   Okay, I've seen it all ... I'm ready to leave the planet. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 2, 2012

As a Springer author myself, I find this apparent censorship nauseating. If this is true, I shall certainly look for a different publisher for my next book. The only criterion should be the scientific (or philosophical) merit of the content. And it isn't Springer's place to "endorse" something anyway; their function is to facilitate the dissemination of scientific ideas and arguments, not to take a position on current controverses.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 2, 2012

Although several posts express outrage at this apparent censorship, they should review a few of the details not expanded upon here.  Amazon.com quotes the book cover as stating, "the work represented here develops novel non-reductionist approaches to biological information, looking notably to telic and self-organizational processes."  If you mosey over to the Wikipedia definition of "telic,"  it appears to me that the flap is not about publishing per se, but rather about publishing it as as a work of science rather than theology.  I'm too cheap to spend $179 on this book to confirm my suspicions, but if one of the supporters wants to spring for it and report back on the rigorous experiments described there, I'd be happy to change my position.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 2, 2012

My goodness - has it really come down to this level of censorship?!  That even the possibility of a book about ID is enough to get a campaign going.  Has anyone ever had the intelligence to work out that if the complaint about ID is that there are no peer reviewed published research, and then any such research is immediately banned - it becomes the ultimate in circular arguments? 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 2, 2012

"The book proposal was initially peer-reviewed by two individuals"

So a couple of like minded friends liked your idea of publishing the book. I thought the peer review process took place after they could read the content not on what you proposed to write.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 2, 2012

Has anyone read the book?  Unless there is some good EVIDENCE based science in it is just more ID unscientific nonsense.  The only way to know if it is science with good data or more ID junk is to actually read it.  My guess from looking at the list of authors is it is more ID non science, but without reading it I cannot know for sure.

It is not about free speech or the right to publish good peer reviewed science.  The question is is there any good scientiifc evidence presented here?  If there is not then it is not science and should not be published as if it is science.

Biological Information: New Perspectives (Intelligent Systems Reference Library) [Hardcover] Robert J. Marks II (Editor), Michael J. Behe (Editor), William A. Dembski (Editor), Bruce L. Gordon (Editor), John C. Sanford (Editor) Like 1330712305 false -1 1 1 0 (1)

I note that Behe and Dembski along with Sanford are amoung the editors, which makes me very suspicious about the scientific merit of its content.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 2, 2012

Also, the publisher did the right thing in calling for a more intensive peer review of the book to determine if it is or is not science.

If it is good science with good evidence then they should go ahead and publish it

If it is determined that it is not good science or that there is no evidience to back it up then it should not be published as science.

That does not mean it should not be published.  There are tons of books published each year that are not science.  Just that it should not be published as if it were science.

JCJ

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 2, 2012

I have developed five
years ago a new theory on the paternal mitochondrial DNA inheritance that
brings scientific arguments and *new perspectives regarding the nature and origin of biological
information*. Based on Adam mtDNA heritage, observed only at the puberty only in *born
boy's* seminal liquid (not in vitro made), I have developed a new
bio-communication theory, Mitochondrial Adam DNA data transmission theory - ISBN 978-606-92107-1-0:

Abstract: Brain and
soul storming - The necessary
and sufficient processes to a well function of the human body are meticulous arranged
by specific organizational cells, so called process biomanagers, using
interconditioned procedures, transmitted through three ways of communication:
chemical or “protein channelâ€쳌, electrical or “ion channelâ€쳌 and mitochondrial or
“EMF wireless channelâ€쳌. The third type is out of the visible and measurable spectrum
and raises a new challenge to the scientists. For this type of bio communication
we bring a new theoretical hypothesis, based on the managerial
multidisciplinary analysis of a cybernetic model proposed by us, by simulating
the human body function with the virtual computerized system based on the
management of its total knowledge and its perfect quality way of function. The
main bricks used for this virtual construction are: the brain, as main
bioprocessor, and Eve mtDNA and Adam mtDNA, as bio-antennas. This assembly of
the total knowledge, build with “brain reasoning, biological feeling, and
unlimited soul feelingâ€쳌, is called by us “main decision triangle, IQ-EQ-CQâ€쳌.
The main principle of the management of the total knowledge imposes us to not
neglect any information produced by man during the time, even if it seems
creasy at the beginning. Because in the natural fertilisation the spermatozoids
are naturally equipped with the paternal mtDNA (a veritable main bio-GPS), we
consider that the paternal mitochondria DNA have a very important role in the
evolution of the human being life quality and we have developed a new
hypothesis, “Adam mtDNA theoryâ€쳌, in addition to “Eve mtDNA theoryâ€쳌.

Keywords: brain,
mitochondria, maternal, paternal
 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 3, 2012

As pointed out below, it is not censorship, and it is not a circular argument, either.  It isn't because it's "immediately banned" that ID "science" doesn't get published, it doesn't get published  because it DOESN'T pass peer review.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 3, 2012

It's not censorship - it's about protecting the reputation of the Springer and Higher Ed.  They don't want to be in the position of publishing papers that are not based on good data and procedures.  If a question is raised about the quality of the paper and /or the impartiality of the peer-reviewers the correct thing to do tis to have a separate set of reviewers look at the paper and see what they think...

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 3, 2012

Censorship is the wrong word. Every publisher has to decide for or against each book that someone wants to publish, and takes into account the effects the book might have on their profits, their reputation and the advancement of knowledge. Many books are rejected, but that is not censorship.

Even if this book contains science, it might still be rejected if the quality of the science is poor.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 3, 2012

 Jorge that is just silly.  They didn't censor people they killed or tortured them in the middle ages and at the Salem Witch Trials.  And this is not even censorship in the sense of book burnings, it is questioning the validity of the science behind the book.

Avatar of: Paul H Pause

Paul H Pause

Posts: 1

March 3, 2012

As pointed out below, it is not censorship, and it is not a circular argument, either.  It isn't because it's "immediately banned" that ID "science" doesn't get published, it doesn't get published  because it DOESN'T pass peer review.

Avatar of: flippertie

flippertie

Posts: 1

March 3, 2012

It's not censorship - it's about protecting the reputation of the Springer and Higher Ed.  They don't want to be in the position of publishing papers that are not based on good data and procedures.  If a question is raised about the quality of the paper and /or the impartiality of the peer-reviewers the correct thing to do tis to have a separate set of reviewers look at the paper and see what they think...

Avatar of: Ian McKay

Ian McKay

Posts: 1

March 3, 2012

Censorship is the wrong word. Every publisher has to decide for or against each book that someone wants to publish, and takes into account the effects the book might have on their profits, their reputation and the advancement of knowledge. Many books are rejected, but that is not censorship.

Even if this book contains science, it might still be rejected if the quality of the science is poor.

Avatar of: Terry Morrison

Terry Morrison

Posts: 1457

March 3, 2012

 Jorge that is just silly.  They didn't censor people they killed or tortured them in the middle ages and at the Salem Witch Trials.  And this is not even censorship in the sense of book burnings, it is questioning the validity of the science behind the book.

Avatar of: Kim van der Linde

Kim van der Linde

Posts: 1457

March 4, 2012

So silly. If your stellar contribution is real science, I am sure that it either:
1. It passes peer review.
2. If not, that it can be improved upon and passes after that.
3. Or if not accepted, that it can be published elsewhere.

Avatar of: gobbledegook78

gobbledegook78

Posts: 1

March 4, 2012

Jorge, you've got to be joking. Springer is a private enterprise and they are not obligated to publish everything or anything that is submitted to them. Plus, as a private enterprise they are not subject to free speech laws. There is no censoring going on, and you're jumping to the conclusion that they are not going to publish the book before you know whether they will publish the book. If they decide to not publish the book that's their prerogative. If you don't like it, look for a publisher that will publish the book, or post it on a website. No one is stopping you or anyone else from saying anything they want to, but it's totally unreasonable for you to expect a publisher to publish whatever is submitted to them whether they like it or not.

I find it interesting that you're not complaining about ID promoting websites (like uncommon descent and ENV) that 'censor' and ban people who ask questions or oppose ID.

Avatar of: Kim van der Linde

Kim van der Linde

Posts: 1457

March 4, 2012

How to publish peer-reviewed pseudoscience.

1. You hire a room at a University, and call it a conference.
2. You invite your buddies (the inner circle), but keep everybody else out.
3. You use the echo-room technique to communicate with your inner circle.
4. You get 5 editors from your inner circle that have some credentials in the real science world so that the publisher misses the obvious.
5. The presenters submit their manuscripts.
6. You have those peer-reviewed by the same inner circle.
7. You have it published.
And voila, you have a peer-reviewed book of conference proceedings that you can use to brag that you have published peer-reviewed articles....

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 4, 2012

So silly. If your stellar contribution is real science, I am sure that it either:
1. It passes peer review.
2. If not, that it can be improved upon and passes after that.
3. Or if not accepted, that it can be published elsewhere.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 4, 2012

Jorge, you've got to be joking. Springer is a private enterprise and they are not obligated to publish everything or anything that is submitted to them. Plus, as a private enterprise they are not subject to free speech laws. There is no censoring going on, and you're jumping to the conclusion that they are not going to publish the book before you know whether they will publish the book. If they decide to not publish the book that's their prerogative. If you don't like it, look for a publisher that will publish the book, or post it on a website. No one is stopping you or anyone else from saying anything they want to, but it's totally unreasonable for you to expect a publisher to publish whatever is submitted to them whether they like it or not.

I find it interesting that you're not complaining about ID promoting websites (like uncommon descent and ENV) that 'censor' and ban people who ask questions or oppose ID.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 4, 2012

How to publish peer-reviewed pseudoscience.

1. You hire a room at a University, and call it a conference.
2. You invite your buddies (the inner circle), but keep everybody else out.
3. You use the echo-room technique to communicate with your inner circle.
4. You get 5 editors from your inner circle that have some credentials in the real science world so that the publisher misses the obvious.
5. The presenters submit their manuscripts.
6. You have those peer-reviewed by the same inner circle.
7. You have it published.
And voila, you have a peer-reviewed book of conference proceedings that you can use to brag that you have published peer-reviewed articles....

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 5, 2012

why the outrage?  perhaps intelligent design is more appropriately categorized as a book about philosophy.  But to use fear to control information is already counter to the freedom necessary for scientific inquiry.  Most of what people consider hard science is nothing more than comparison based on rules or assumptions.   These rules depend on math; and math in turn depends on philosophy.   Any scientist should know that we are limited to our physical world in terms of experimental scientists, but theoretical scientists often ponder things such as alternate universes, fourth dimensions, fifth dimensions, etc.   Remember Goedel's theorem?  So in the end what's the big deal if Springer publishes a book--I certainly don't think that means Springer endorses a position.   Its up to the reader to put things in context and for most scientists that context is that we know very little about our world and how it works.    

P.S.  I do believe that Springer somewhere published that Einstein believed in God.  But perhaps one sentence versus a book is different.   

Robin H.
www.god-gold-glory.org

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 5, 2012

why the outrage?  perhaps intelligent design is more appropriately categorized as a book about philosophy.  But to use fear to control information is already counter to the freedom necessary for scientific inquiry.  Most of what people consider hard science is nothing more than comparison based on rules or assumptions.   These rules depend on math; and math in turn depends on philosophy.   Any scientist should know that we are limited to our physical world in terms of experimental scientists, but theoretical scientists often ponder things such as alternate universes, fourth dimensions, fifth dimensions, etc.   Remember Goedel's theorem?  So in the end what's the big deal if Springer publishes a book--I certainly don't think that means Springer endorses a position.   Its up to the reader to put things in context and for most scientists that context is that we know very little about our world and how it works.    
P.S.  I do believe that Springer somewhere published that Einstein believed in God.  But perhaps one sentence versus a book is different.   

Robin H.
www.god-gold-glory.org

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 5, 2012

 A few years ago I was sucked into a conference run by the Discovery Institute. Some the ID people were sincere and perhaps naive. One had done their PhD at Cambridge, and another at Northwestern, under David Hull, my own mentor. I was a bit annoyed at finding I had been duped, but was pleased to renew friendships with Dan Brooks, Bob Ulanowicz, Bruce Weber and some others, as well as meeting Gunther Wagner and Steve Chaitin, and hearing Stuart Kauffman's confusion once again about spontaneous self-organization (Prigogine style self organizing systems) and movement to a minimal energy point.

Michael Behe was there, and we talked. He is a nice guy, unlike the cads at the Discovery Institute. I had refereed a paper of his responding to criticism in Philosophy of Science. Since the criticism was both wrong and poorly argued, I thought he must have his say (as did the other reviewer, a prominent philosopher of biology whose name I am pledged not to reveal). A warning to those attacking ID: these people are much brighter than your garden variety creationists, and do be careful that you know what you are talking about, or else you guarantee them a refereed publication. In this case the original paper should never have been published.

Behe conveniently missed my talk in which I mentioned recent work showed that rotary "motors" in bacteria resulted from just two mutations, contrary to Behe's argument that they are too complicated for evolution to produce. I also showed how Rosen's non-reducibility argument applied to the resulting network, which Chaiting remarked was the clearest expression of the idea he had seen. So the meeting was worthwhile. But I still resent being duped.

Avatar of: Robin H

Robin H

Posts: 4

March 5, 2012

why the outrage?  perhaps intelligent design is more appropriately categorized as a book about philosophy.  But to use fear to control information is already counter to the freedom necessary for scientific inquiry.  Most of what people consider hard science is nothing more than comparison based on rules or assumptions.   These rules depend on math; and math in turn depends on philosophy.   Any scientist should know that we are limited to our physical world in terms of experimental scientists, but theoretical scientists often ponder things such as alternate universes, fourth dimensions, fifth dimensions, etc.   Remember Goedel's theorem?  So in the end what's the big deal if Springer publishes a book--I certainly don't think that means Springer endorses a position.   Its up to the reader to put things in context and for most scientists that context is that we know very little about our world and how it works.    

P.S.  I do believe that Springer somewhere published that Einstein believed in God.  But perhaps one sentence versus a book is different.   

Robin H.
www.god-gold-glory.org

Avatar of: Robin H

Robin H

Posts: 4

March 5, 2012

why the outrage?  perhaps intelligent design is more appropriately categorized as a book about philosophy.  But to use fear to control information is already counter to the freedom necessary for scientific inquiry.  Most of what people consider hard science is nothing more than comparison based on rules or assumptions.   These rules depend on math; and math in turn depends on philosophy.   Any scientist should know that we are limited to our physical world in terms of experimental scientists, but theoretical scientists often ponder things such as alternate universes, fourth dimensions, fifth dimensions, etc.   Remember Goedel's theorem?  So in the end what's the big deal if Springer publishes a book--I certainly don't think that means Springer endorses a position.   Its up to the reader to put things in context and for most scientists that context is that we know very little about our world and how it works.    
P.S.  I do believe that Springer somewhere published that Einstein believed in God.  But perhaps one sentence versus a book is different.   

Robin H.
www.god-gold-glory.org

Avatar of: John Collier

John Collier

Posts: 2

March 5, 2012

 A few years ago I was sucked into a conference run by the Discovery Institute. Some the ID people were sincere and perhaps naive. One had done their PhD at Cambridge, and another at Northwestern, under David Hull, my own mentor. I was a bit annoyed at finding I had been duped, but was pleased to renew friendships with Dan Brooks, Bob Ulanowicz, Bruce Weber and some others, as well as meeting Gunther Wagner and Steve Chaitin, and hearing Stuart Kauffman's confusion once again about spontaneous self-organization (Prigogine style self organizing systems) and movement to a minimal energy point.

Michael Behe was there, and we talked. He is a nice guy, unlike the cads at the Discovery Institute. I had refereed a paper of his responding to criticism in Philosophy of Science. Since the criticism was both wrong and poorly argued, I thought he must have his say (as did the other reviewer, a prominent philosopher of biology whose name I am pledged not to reveal). A warning to those attacking ID: these people are much brighter than your garden variety creationists, and do be careful that you know what you are talking about, or else you guarantee them a refereed publication. In this case the original paper should never have been published.

Behe conveniently missed my talk in which I mentioned recent work showed that rotary "motors" in bacteria resulted from just two mutations, contrary to Behe's argument that they are too complicated for evolution to produce. I also showed how Rosen's non-reducibility argument applied to the resulting network, which Chaiting remarked was the clearest expression of the idea he had seen. So the meeting was worthwhile. But I still resent being duped.

Avatar of: derwood2

derwood2

Posts: 1

March 6, 2012

I am familiar with Fernandez's "science", and I am familiar with the fact that, like many other YECs, Fernandez's doctorate is a diploma mill special.  He is a run of the mill "no new information" monger, who could not even define "information" in a biologically relevant way for a period of several YEARS, yet still felt confident writing proclamations about it on several internet discussion forums.  Add to that his obnoxious, arrogant and bile-filled rhetoric, and you have someone far more interested in self-aggrandizement to prop up his religion than about engaging in legitimate science.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 6, 2012

I am familiar with Fernandez's "science", and I am familiar with the fact that, like many other YECs, Fernandez's doctorate is a diploma mill special.  He is a run of the mill "no new information" monger, who could not even define "information" in a biologically relevant way for a period of several YEARS, yet still felt confident writing proclamations about it on several internet discussion forums.  Add to that his obnoxious, arrogant and bile-filled rhetoric, and you have someone far more interested in self-aggrandizement to prop up his religion than about engaging in legitimate science.

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